High Tech Meets High Touch

Review of GlobalShop 2014
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Posted May 8, 2014

Designers, manufacturers and suppliers gathered March 18-20 at the Mandalay Convention Center in Las Vegas for GlobalShop 2014. Some educational sessions focused on the basics (surprise the customer, create an experience), but others sparked the imagination with pop-up case studies and futuristic predictions. While “sensory merchandising” was an increasingly popular term, the show floor painted a different picture.

One could argue that texture has been a trend, even a staple, for years, but this time around, it had a twist: the use of digital printing to feign authenticity. For example, GLV Corp.’s (West Jordan, Utah) booth featured slat wall resembling reclaimed wood that was derived from non-reclaimed timber and other materials. Along with showcasing the advancements in digital printing, this trend demonstrates that the demand for texture is growing faster than manufacturers can source reclaimed materials for retailers’ needs, driving them toward alternatives – some of which aren’t eco-friendly.

Throughout the floor, select manufacturers and suppliers featured an array of touchable designs – encouraging show-goers to feel and pick up – including everything from hyper-realistic wave-inspired designs to fake tree bark to standard red bricks. As Christine Sturch of Whole Foods Market noted, if she can be convinced by these faux natural materials, anyone can.

Related to the texture obsession were undulating, topographical shapes, sometimes large-scale. France Display’s booth, for example, was a layered prop with stacked, curved arches, while SparkleMasters displayed a larger-than-life sequins sign.

At the show, VMSD honored five exhibits (shown) for their outstanding design presentation, including France Display (New York); Judith Von Hopf (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.); Visual Citi (West Babylon, N.Y.); Amuneal Mfg. Corp. (Rockaway, N.J.); and B+N Industries’ (Burlingame, Calif.) collaboration with Toppan (Tokyo).